Gratitude in This Time of Thanksgiving

vintage-thanksgiving-clip-art-turkey-acorns-pumpkins-farm

Okay…. In this time of fear I think I am going to do what I have done a few times before. I am going to focus on the positive. I need to. I’m having a rough go right now. And since we are going into the United States’s time of Thanksgiving, I am going to try and talk about something I am thankful for every day this week.

I am going to start this by saying I am thankful for friends. Today I am thinking of two….

Elin Gregory. I have known this wonderful lady online only for over ten years. We met somehow on Live Journal. It had something to do with writing? Was it fanfic? In those days that was almost the only thing I wrote online, although I never wrote much.

Wait. It’s coming back to me.

I was working on a few projects that actually turned into at least one book I got published through Dreamspinner Press. And she was a great commenter and beta that helped make my stories better!

Anyway, this is how I met Elin and I soon thought of her as a friend. Over time, and as Live Journal for all intents and purposes died, she came to beta a lot of my early work as I transitioned into a published author.

But it is more than that. She really has been a friend. A true friend. She has “listened” to me cry, she has been a “shoulder” to place my head upon, and helped me though problems. Some of them personal, some of them even in my stories. Reminded me that I could make that wife more sympathetic so she wasn’t the villain that needed to be out of the way so our two heroes could fall in love. Came up with a wonderful solution to a dilemma in my dude ranch story. I could go on and on and on….

She has this powerful ability to … humble me? I don’t know if that’s the right word….

When I get to ranting, she can make me see the other side. She can point out how behavior I don’t understand isn’t necessarily bad behavior. And more. I think part of this is that we come from pretty different cultures. She constantly explains that the British are raised to that they should always make sure others are comfortable and not to be impolite in any way. I came to see that I had some American arrogance, and that I was being impolite and had no idea. She could do that. She woke me up. But gently.

And goodness! With no preamble at all, I can send her an Instant Message and she is immediately there to help! I forget at times even to say “Hello! How are you?” first! And she never gets upset with me for it! Just leaps in and is willing to help.

I think she might be the Number One person from online that I want to meet most. And living across the pond, I don’t know when that will happen. But I hope soon! Gosh, I hope soon! I love you Elin!

And then there is….

Paulle Jung Morvant-Alexander. Paulle is a horse of a different color if there ever was one. And an example I try and try to live up to. Not perfect mind you! But close to it.

We met when I was about eighteen. We remember it two different ways—I think it was a science fiction convention and she thinks it was at a SF fan’s home—but that is a byproduct of the fact that we met a very long time ago. Almost forty years ago! Wow!

We met through science fiction and fantasy fandom. She is an artist and writer and I was dreaming I wanted to be a writer. She did fanzines and I got involved. Fanzines for the Anne McCaffrey Riders of Pern books, the original (and far better) Battlestar Galactica, Elfquest, Star Wars, and so much more. She illustrated some of my first published stories and said back then that I was going to be a professional one day.

She is so wise! Always has been. I remember at the very beginning that I was talking to someone at her vendor’s table who mentioned she liked Rod Stewart. Being a very immature eighteen year old, I went into a rant about how much I hated him. The lady in question was offended and told me so.

And Paulle did a very King Solomon kind of thing. She turned to the lady in question and explained to her that I had a right to my opinion and that she shouldn’t be offended. But what she really did, and gosh I wish I could remember her exact words, was tell me (sort of over her shoulder) that I could render my opinion without being insulting to someone else. To this day, nearly forty years later, I can remember that I was brought up short. Stunned. Breath slightly taken out of my lungs. Enlightenment.

It was sort of what Elin Gregory does. Gently reminds me that I was being a bit of an ass. But in a way that I could take it in. Absorb it. Learn from it. When someone yells at you, you tend to go on guard and therefor can’t hear the truth.

Paulle has always helped me see the truth.

And she’s darned fun too. We laugh and laugh and laugh.

This woman has been through a breakup with someone who she clearly saw as her life partner, at least two rounds of cancer in the last year, death of close friends and family, the death of recent acquaintances, and so much more. She has lost a lot, but rises up again and again and again thankful for a sunny day or a good meal or her cat, Artemis.

She is a very example of reminding me to be thankful simply for lungs full of air—and this is especially true considering the fact that one of the cancers she beat back into hell was lung cancer!

These two women are heroes of mine. I love them dearly. I am so thankful for them that I could write a hundred times more than I have written above and still not come close to expressing that gratitude. Of telling the tales. Of so much more.

And I know I must frustrate the heck out of them at times. But they never give up on me. Wow!

Thank You Universe for Elin and Paulle. They make me Believe!

Namasté,
Ben

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(art supplied by Dover Art)

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